Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Special Feature: Buzzy Bee, Dahlonega, GA
1405 McDonald Rd., Dahlonega, GA 30533
Recently, while I was visiting my dad in Dahlonega, I proudly showed him the squash, apple crumb cake and honey I bought at Farmhouse Produce. I know that my dad loves this store, so I was surprised when he shook his head with disappointment.
"I wish you wouldn't have bought honey there," he said. "I wanted to take you to this place up the road a few miles. There's a man who has honey hives and sells the honey in this little building. No one works in the building. People just come in and take the honey and leave their money. It works on the honor system."
This news left me completely stunned. While I did live in Dawsonville, GA for a few years in my youth (long before the North Georgia 400 outlet mall brought in hoards of people), I have resided in Atlanta the majority of my life. To my knowledge, no business in Atlanta works on the honor system. Despite the fact that I had just purchased a jar of honey, I picked up my purse and urged Daddy to lead me to this rural wonder.
We drove through some narrow roads up into the mountains of Lumpkin and White counties, occasionally passing little signs that noted "Local Honey" with an arrow, assuring us that we were on the correct path. We also passed the honey hives themselves, big wooden boxes which no doubt contained removable comb frames. About 10 minutes later we pulled up to a small, tan metal shed with a white sign that read "Local Honey for Sale" and a second, smaller sign that indeed confirmed what my dad had told me, "Honor System. Please come in and help yourself. Please come again." This was signed by Buzzy Bee.
Inside we found a tiny but charming collection of beeswax lip balm, beeswax candles, and jars of honey in two sizes. There was a little sign that directed customers to please put payment in the small, black, locked mailbox. A guest book lay on a table, and I saw that many people had signed it and made compliments about the products. A child had drawn pictures of bees using crayons, noting that he/she "hope you'll love it!" On the far side of the shop (which was surprisingly cooled by an air conditioner), the owners had posted a wealth of helpful information about bees, hives and beekeeping in history. Everything was very neat, organized, and welcoming. Daddy bought me an 8oz jar of honey for $6. It felt great to support a local businessman, even though it was through Daddy's dollar. I'll be sure to come back and spend my own money next time.
Although nearby Dawsonville has become a small but bustling little city, the mountain area of Dahlonega has managed to hold on to the quiet, simple, bucolic ways that anyone who has ever lived in the country reveres. Buzzy Bee, with its hard-working owners, its well-kept shop and honor system, is a perfect example of why that kind of life should never be allowed to die out in modern America.
Buzzy Bee doesn't have a website, but you can reach the proprietor, Tim Martin, at Martin120162@windstream.net.
Verdict: It's not the easiest place to locate, but the drive to Buzzy Bee is pleasant and the product is worth the side-trip if you're in the area.